Jun 8, 2014

Summer 1969: Give Me a Prehistoric Man

During the summer of 1969, when I was 8 1/2 years old, my Grandma Davis came to visit, and took us to the store to pick out any toy we wanted. My brother Kenny asked for a bicycle, and I asked for a Cave Man Toy Set.

"Are you sure you don't want a bicycle, too?"  Grandma asked in surprise.









Certainly not.  What fun could you possibly have with a bicycle?

But just look at Cave Man Toy Set: hard-muscled guys in loincloths throwing spears and rocks at gigantic dinosaurs!  (This was before toymakers realized that dinosaurs and prehistoric humans didn't coexist).

My boyfriend Bill agreed with my decision.  We spent many hours with that Toy Set, imagining jungle explorations, nick-of-time rescues from warring tribes or brontosauri, and "my hero" hugs.

Cave men were more fun than other action figures.  Our church taught that the world was created about 6,000 years ago, so evolution was a lie, there was no prehistory, and there had never been any cave men. So in addition to the beefcake, you had the thrill of blasphemy.

My Grandma Davis wasn't entirely opposed to the idea of prehistory.  One day in her attic I found this Van Loon Story of Mankind, published in 1926, with some muscular cave men on the cover.







Most museums had exhibits featuring full-sized statues of prehistoric bodybuilders.  In the Putnam Museum in Davenport, they were wearing loincloths, but in the Museum of Natural History in Chicago, they were naked!

You almost never saw or heard of a cave woman.  I got the distinct impression that our ancestors were all male, roaming around naked in hunter-gatherer bands.



Maybe this was before Adam and Eve, so women hadn't been created yet.

See also: Tarzan Toys; Dan and I Fight Evil-Lution.